Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr has left out captain John Obi Mikel from their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match in Seychelles scheduled to hold next month.
The 31-year-old is ruled out owing to an injury and his absence has paved the way for the inclusion of Kelechi Nwakali who is on loan from Arsenal to FC Porto where he features for their B-team.
Mikel had missed Nigeria’s first AFCON qualifying match against South Africa in Uyo where the Super Eagles lost 0-2.
Missing in action
Apart from Mikel who is not listed in the team, the defensive pair of Shehu Abdullahi and Tyronne Ebuehi miss out of the trip to Seychelles due to injuries.
Moses Simon is also not listed in the squad as he is yet to be fully fit since switching from KAA Gent to Spanish LaLiga side Levante UD.
The other expected exclusion is Chelsea star Victor Moses who called it quits from international football earlier this month.
The new boys
Rohr has handed calls to Rotherham United defender Semi Ajayi for the Seychelles match. Ajayi has played for Nigeria at U20 level when he featured at the 2013 Toulon Tournament. He faced Belgium, Portugal and Brazil at the Toulon Tournament.
German-based defender Collins Jamilu also gets a look-in in the roster for next month. He plays for SC Paderborn 07 in the second tier of Germany’s league football.
A new addition to the squad is Samuel Kalu who has had to endure a difficult time owing to issues with his move to Girondins Bordeaux. Kalu is a striker who has wormed his way into the heart of Rohr and the Nigeria manager rates the 20-year-old winger highly.
Henry Onyekuru, currently on loan to Turkish giants Galatasaray earns a recall to the side, so also is Ola Aina who missed out on a World Cup place in Russia.
Leon Balogun, William Troost-Ekong, Wilfred Ndidi, Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Odion Ighalo and Alex Iwobi as expected are named in Rohr’s team.
Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo de La Coruna), Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United), Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba)
Defenders: Ola Aina (Torino), Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow), Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto), Leon Balogun (Brighton and Hove Albion), William Ekong (Udinese), Collins Jamilu (SC Paderborn 07), Semi Ajayi (Rotherham)
Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City), Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City), Joel Obi (Chievo Verona), John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Kelechi Nwakali (FC Porto B)
Attackers: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City), Ahmed Musa (Al Nassr), Simy Nwankwo (Crotone), Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai), Samuel Kalu (Girondins Bordeaux), Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray)
Standby: Stephen Eze (Lokomotiv Plovdiv), Musa Muhammed (HNK Gorica), Uche Agbo (Standard Liège), Blessing Eleke (FC Luzern)
© The Predictor NG